Team Camaraderie is Key to Sporting KC

Sporting KC showcase what being on a professional soccer team is really like
by Katherine Rupp   |   Thursday, May 08, 2014

State of SKC - column on Sporting KC (SKC) & the Kansas City soccer scene.

One of the most important aspects for a soccer team, besides the quality of play on the field, is the camaraderie that comes with being around the people you ‘work’ with for the majority of your days.

Similar to year’s past, this season’s crop of players on the Sporting Kansas City roster have been at it for awhile, with a few more thrown in for good measure.

The Sporting KC team for 2014 has many of the same players from previous years on its squad in addition to seasoned MLS veterans and journeymen who have acclimated quite nicely to the Kansas City surroundings and to Sporting Park.

The story of Graham Zusi coming to Kansas City to play – along with living at Matt Besler’s parent’s house – has been chronicled quite nicely recently, and shows just how pivotal it is for teammates (or rather ‘co-workers’) to become friends. Not only does the camaraderie affect the play on the field to be – possibly – more trusting, it can also turn out to be more skillful and exciting as the teammates can rely on the dependability and knowing about the other player and what to expect they will do on the pitch.

In the case of Zusi and Besler, players are able to come together and support each other when friends and teammates, and mentor each other through their playing careers. In the case of the 2 Brazil-bound players, they will, as seen during their play on field at Sporting Park and elsewhere in MLS stadiums, communicate as best – and quite possibly better – as their cohorts because of their proximity, and the leadership roles each takes, at Sporting Kansas City.

Besides the 2 players on Sporting KC most likely to head to Brazil, there are other players on the team that show their camaraderie, not only on the field but off it, too.

As seen through social media – on Twitter and Instagram – the (what could be dubbed as a bromance) friendship between Dom Dwyer and Soony Saad, helped – especially at the end of last year’s MLS Cup Championship season – to facilitate a sense of lightheartedness. Becoming a fun group of players who took their jobs seriously rather than serious players taking their jobs lightly seemed to take the burden of no Kansas City team winning a championship in 20 years (besides the KC Wizards championship in 2000) off the Sporting Kansas City players.

The sense that players are friends can be seen in the increasingly popular series that Sporting Kansas City’s video and social media department have created on their YouTube channel in the ‘Benny Feilhaber Show’ which features – you guessed it – midfielder Benny Feilhaber, a newly-acquired winger from this off-season and already seen as a fan favorite by his work rate and effort he exerts, Sal Zizzo, plus their ‘guests’ who are their fellow teammates. Watching this faux talk show encapsulates the importance of getting along with the people you work with while having fun and also doing your work and getting down to business when needed.

Having those friendships within a work environment, regardless of whether it’s in an office setting or on a grass field, is vital to the lifeline of the growth of a club – as players will be drawn to a friendly and welcoming atmosphere – as well as maintaining a solid rapport with players and staff. Sporting Kansas City have shown the significance of camaraderie between those on the roster in the past few seasons and this year’s group is no different, which ultimately leads to exciting play on the field and great times connecting with fans off the field.

NEXT UP: May 10 – Sporting Kansas City vs. Montreal Impact, Stade Saputo, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, 4 p.m. EST, MLS Live.

Katherine RUPP

Drake University
Club Domestic:
Sporting KC
Club Foreign:
Tottenham Hotspur
Unabashed Minnesotan by birth. Tried reliving the glory days of collegiate intramural soccer championships but an ACL tear dashed future hopes of adult recreational greatness. Covering a city’s team that’s too big for one state: SKC.